Alexander McQueen Designer Sarah Burton’s Latest Prodigy Animates Her Graduate Collection
The ethereal fabrics and designs of Maria Romero’s graduate fashion collection shimmer on the handmade dolls modeling them in her stop-motion short. Directed by Romero and produced in collaboration with fellow students at the San Francisco Academy of Art University in lieu of a traditional runway show, the film came from a conversation with the fashion school’s Director, Simon Ungless. “There was a doll’s body lying on the table,” Ungless recalls. “It was probably 12 inches tall and Maria was draping the body with fabrics and mini-garments she had made. I said, ‘why turn them into real clothes when you could do something new?’” The film was inspired by “dulces de reliquias,” Mexican candies handed out at Christmas during nativity plays. The golden maquettes in Romero’s short have heads of clay, hair from Peruvian lambs, and bodies wrapped in silk organza, chiffon, taffeta and tulle to mimic the texture of the traditional sweets. Among the guests who previewed Romera’s film at the graduation show were designer Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, milliner Philip Treacy, and journalists Cathy Horyn and Suzy Menkes—all good friends of Ungless. By the time the graduate ceremony was over, Burton, who studied under Ungless during his tenure at London’s Central Saint Martins in the 1990s, had offered Romero an internship.
Introducing Maria Romero
Favorite thing about San Francisco
Its diversity and passion for the arts.
Favorite fashion collections
Plato’s Atlantis by Alexander McQueen, spring 2010; and Gareth Pugh, fall 2009.
Head-to-toe Valentino, fall 2012.
Almost all the women in my family have been seamstresses at some point; I grew up watching them crochet, knit and embroider. Most exciting for me was watching my mom sew my aunt’s graduation gown, a simple heart-shaped black velvet bodice attached to a white organza skirt.
The late Alexander McQueen––he was not afraid to show his vision. Everything he created was a piece of art.
Simon taught me to trust my instinct and to never give up.